Sitting at my desk I can’t help but feel overcome by stress as I’m studying for my midterm exam. This year has been relentless with an exam every Monday until Winter break. I’m tired, frustrated, and want to give up. I look to my left and there is Libby curled so sweetly on her bed. She raises her head to look at me and I can’t help but smile. Immediately, her tail begins thumping away and within seconds her head is in my lap. Her body wiggles and her brown eyes plead with me to abandon my work. I need a break and she knows it.
I have had countless discussions with other classmates about owning a pet during vet school. Many people cannot imagine taking on the additional responsibility during such a busy time of their lives. I fall on the opposite end of the spectrum and cannot imagine how hard life would be without my fur kids. I understand the extra strain of owning pets, but at the end of the day it has always been worth it.
Here are just a few perks of owning a pet while in vet school:
Stress relief – I would be lying if I said my pets didn’t help me blow off some steam. They have been the best form of distraction possible. They encourage me to take breaks and enjoy some much-needed cuddles.
Exercise – A pivotal part of dog ownership is providing adequate amounts of physical stimulation. This is not only important for my dog but also for myself. Some of my favorite de-stressing activities include going to the dog park or taking a hike with my girl. Otherwise, I would be curled on my couch all day studying.
Study Resource – Who needs to seek out those extra live animal practice sessions when you have a perfectly good dog/cat at home? I can work on my anatomy and physical exams all from the luxury of my own home.
Companion – Most importantly of all, my pets provide me with companionship. I live by myself and can sometimes feel a bit lonely. Then, I look around and realize that as long as I have my pets, I will never be truly alone.
They may not talk back or offer advice, but their presence has made vet school all the more worthwhile. They’re also a daily reminder of why I chose to become a veterinarian.